Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's like kindergarten all over again...

Mommy, mommy--look! The teacher gave me a prize for the best job coloring of all the other kids!

No, really.

You'd think that grad school would be all serious, with challenging, engaging, academically valuable projects assigned in class. Well, our last homework assignment in geological oceanography was to "Colorize the Arrhenius 1963 map of pelagic sediments and submit in electronic form." Using the word "colorize" doesn't hide the meaning of the assignment: the professor wanted us to color in a black and white map. And, better yet, submit it in a form so that he could use it in his future slide show presentations. In truth he needed it--his present slide with the map was black and white with poor resolution.

This is what the original looked like:

Though somewhat bitter that he was essentially having us make him an image for his presentations which he found too tedious to make himself, we all went diligently about our task. Some people pulled out their crayons, colored over the shaded areas of a printout of the map, and scanned it into the computer. Others of us traced over the electronic image from his slides using various programs, filling in the areas with color. I used PowerPoint. I suppose I went the extra distance in tracing over the outlines of the continents and the lines of longitude and latitude, making them sharp and bold. I selected colors from PowerPoint's default color scheme to suit my taste. When I look closely, I see numerous mistakes--stray marks, lines that are supposed to connect that don't, etc.--but I guess I could claim those imperfections add to the artistic value of the image. Yeah. So I spent several hours on this... nearly an entire afternoon, I'm not as ashamed to admit as I should be... but I found it quite pleasant devoting myself to such a mindless, meticulous task. It's refreshing to do on occasion. Here's what the final product looked like:

As if a coloring homework assignment wasn't elementary school enough already, when we turned our maps in the professor told us that he would select his favorite map and give a prize to the student who made it. We all wondered what the prize would be and waited anxiously for two weeks to learn which lucky student would win. Well, what'd'ya know, I won a book! The book is Overshoot by William R. Catton, Jr., which appears to be about how, considering our population size and growth and use of the world's resources, humans are all totally frakked. Delightful.

So this was a totally random story, I know, but I just thought you all should know that yours truly is officially an award-winning colorer. A bit like putting the picture up on my refrigerator. Yay!


Sebastian said...

I think I've only ever won one contest... When I was 16 or so, I won a laptop for a website I designed.

That was pretty cool.

Don't think I've ever won anything else. But having said that, it's not like I enter a lot of contests either...

Lovely colouring in!

Eleni said...

Aw, thanks.

A laptop is definitely a better prize than anything I've won in a contest.

The best contest prize I've won that I can think of is a surprising $50 gift certificate to the University store for my speech on rakko (sea otters) at the end of first-year Japanese. Watashi no ichiban sukina doobutsu wa rakko desu. Even better, they also gave me a box of Pocky ^_^